Solving Cold Cases

Recent news has carried several stories about new evidence and arrests for murders that have gone unsolved for decades. These include last week’s arrest of a 70-year-old Clear Creek County man suspected in the 1982 murders of two young women, as well as new forensic evidence leading to the arrest of a suspect in the 1981 murder of a Cherry Hills Village woman.

Colorado Cold Case Playing Card Program cards
Colorado Cold Case Playing Card Program card deck. Photo courtesy CBI.

Just because a crime happened a long time ago doesn’t mean it gets forgotten. Families still seek closure, and the simple passage of time doesn’t mean criminals get let off the hook. In Colorado, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) oversees cold cases. They sponsor several programs including a Cold Case Review Team; a Cold Case Task Force; and even a Cold Case Playing Card Program with photos and facts about unsolved homicides, nearly 30,000 decks of which have been distributed to jails and detention facilities. All of these programs are detailed on the CBI’s Cold Case website.

The CBI also runs a searchable statewide Cold Case Files database. Here, users can view details on Colorado homicide and missing persons cases. Data on each victim includes a photo (if available) and physical description; a summary of the case; and the local law enforcement agency involved in the investigation. The database is searchable by person’s name; case type; case status (open or solved); date; and law enforcement agency. Or, users can simply scroll through the cases and photos. If you have any information on any of the cases presented in the database, contact CBI or the agency listed with the case.

The Cold Case Task Force was created by the General Assembly in 2007. Composed of representatives from law enforcement agencies, victims’ organizations, and victims’ family members, the task force exists to assist with cold case investigations by providing resources, information, and outreach. To learn more about the operations of the task force, see their Annual Report and sunset reviews from 2011 and 2018.

CBI also includes a Missing Persons Unit and sponsors a Missing Children Project. For further information on crime in Colorado, see the CBI’s “Colorado Crime Online” statistical database or search the State Publications Library’s online catalog for documents and reports.